Fireworks displays along San Diego’s coastline debated

By Dave Schwab
Staff Writer

Players largely reiterated their stances on a tentative order that could make it a lot harder — and expensive — to host fireworks over water  potentially threatening community-oriented Fourth of July displays like the one held annually at La Jolla Cove.

Environmentalists and representatives of the fireworks industry and communities and organizations hosting fireworks displays over bodies of water crossed swords again at a two-hour public workshop Dec. 16 at the California Regional Qater Quality Control Board of San Diego in Kearny Mesa. The workshop was an opportunity to comment on Tentative Order No. R9-2010-0124, originally released on Sept. 23, 2010.

The Fourth of July fireworks display in La Jolla continued in 2010 despite a legal challenge. Photo: Brittany Comunale

The San Diego Water Board is currently fine-tuning that tentative order but had not completed the process. Water board staff added a final decision on the order, which stiffens requirements for hosting fireworks displays over water as well as charging a $1,452 fee per event.

The board is likely to hold another public workshop on the tentative order in late January before making a final decision on new tougher regulations in March or April of 2011.

In opening remarks, water board executive officer David Gibson explained the worshop’s purpose.

“The tentative order is itself a work in progress and this is the right time for the regional board which is charged with regulating pollutants discharged along the coast,” he said, adding fireworks debris unquestionably carries metals and other toxic debris that could potentially pollute water.

Gibson said the water board intends to “level the playing field” for all fireworks “players.”

“Whether fireworks are discharged over Santee or Dana Point, there should be the same rules,” he said.

Roger Schneider, a pyrotechnics expert and consultant for the fireworks industry, recited a long list of toxic chemicals, at the end of which he said, “I put them in my mouth, chewed and swallowed — it was broccoli coated with vinaigrette dressing” The point being, he added, that we’re surrounded by toxic chemicals which, in minute quantities, are beneficial not harmful.

That analogy Schneider likened to once-a-year fireworks displays which he argued leave only traces of harmful chemicals in the environment.

“I need to ask you (water board) how much (toxic) is there?” he asked. “You need to keep an eye on quantification.”

Environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez, who unsuccessfully attempted last year to block La Jolla’s Fourth of July display arguing all necessary permitting had not been obtained, said opponents of the new proposed tighter restrictions for fireworks permitting and water-quality monitoring are obscuring the facts.

“There is a patriotic notion that fireworks over water makes us feel more American,” he said, noting the Clean Water Act specifies harmful chemicals like those found in fireworks are required to be monitored by law in the environment. “We don’t want to but we will go to court to sue each and every municipality that violates the Clean Water Act. Don’t regulate (fireworks). We’re more than happy to resolve these issues in court.”

City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, whose First District includes La Jolla, cautioned the water board to consider “the frequency of fireworks displays,” as well as the potential for “a huge (negative) impact on the economy, tourism and tax revenues” caused by barring them.

Related posts:

  1. Challenged Athletes Foundation events heading for La Jolla
  2. Wet weather didn’t dampen spirits at Splash Bash
  3. Kudos for polishing the Jewel: La Jolla Yoga Center
  4. LJ Shores underwater photo contest takes off
  5. Planned SIO research building worries neighbors

Short URL:

Posted by Dave Schwab on Dec 17, 2010. Filed under Featured Story, La Jolla, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Fireworks displays along San Diego’s coastline debated”

  1. Sara

    Good Lord, Dave –

    Way to butcher Marco's comment. Sure, CERF will sue if necessary, and stronger requirements will probably result from the litigation than if everyone works collaboratively. The misrepresentations of LJ Light, and particularly your columns, are laughable.

Leave a Reply

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Man pleads guilty in fatal Del Mar hit-and-run case April 17, 2014
    A man who drove drunk and struck a marine biologist in a crosswalk in Del Mar, then fled the scene, pleaded guilty April 16 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a hit-and-run allegation. Christopher ``Chip’’ Stockmeyer, 41, faces between nine and 15 years in prison when he is sentenced June 20 for the March 28 death of Rachel Morrison. […]
  • Del Mar Powerhouse 10U Champions April 17, 2014
    The Del Mar Powerhouse 10U team played two pool play games and two elimination games to go undefeated in the Triple Crown Sports San Diego Open and win the Division 1 Championship. The boys showed great determination and fight to come away victorious in elimination play and battle for the win with a one-run margin of victory for both semi-final and champions […]
  • Canyon Crest girls crack top three at Arcadia, set new school record April 17, 2014
    Several young women runners from Carmel Valley high schools raced well in the Arcadia Invitational on April 11-12 in Los Angeles. Arcadia is considered to be one of the most competitive high school track and field meets in the country, drawing both national and international athletes to compete. […]